The Pickerington Public Library in February will begin offering free notary services to the public.

Often, a transaction or document can't be finalized or made official until it has been notarized by a notary public.

A notary public's role verifies the identity of the person or people signing a document and confirms the signatories understand the meaning of what they are signing.

Beginning Feb. 15, both the Pickerington Public Library's main branch, 201 Opportunity Way, and the Sycamore Plaza branch, 7861 Refugee Road, will offer free notary services.

"Annually, many of our patrons express interest in notary services provided by the library," said Tony Howard, library director.

"With some financial institutions moving away from offering this service to noncustomers, we felt this was an opportunity to help fill a need and continue to provide dynamic patron services."

Although you won't need to be a Pickerington library cardholder to receive the service, appointments are required so library staff can ensure notary availability on desired dates and times.

Appointments can be made online through the library's website, pickeringtonlibrary.org, or by contacting the reference departments of both branches, by phone or in person.

The phone number for the main library's reference desk is 614-837-4104, ext. 233. The Sycamore Plaza branch number is 614-837-4383, ext. 124.

Library adult-services manager Donna Matturri said nine notaries public are on staff at each branch, which should help provide flexibility for appointments.

"Appointments are available during business hours Monday through Friday at both locations," Matturri said.

"Some restrictions will apply, but we'll be listening for the types of requests and feedback as they come in so that we can continually improve our services to suit the needs of the community."

Howard said the move to offering notary services is in line with the Pickerington library and other libraries working to offer better resources to patrons and the public.

"From our research in preparation for this service, we know that the minimal cost will not cause an undue financial burden on the library," Howard said.

"In fact, the benefits to the community justify offering this service for no fee.

"There is an international trend for libraries to collaborate more with social-service agencies," Howard said.

"Those partnerships take on many different looks, from offering services, to providing dedicated space for satellite offices, to offering classes provided by social-service agencies.

"It boils down to meeting the needs of the community through logical partnerships while using tax dollars wisely," Howard said.

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